Nursing home abuse can take many forms including physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, psychological and emotional abuse. As many victims are afraid or unable to speak out, it’s important to look for warning signs of abuse.
Signs of nursing home abuse may include:
- Physical injuries such as broken bones, bed sores, internal bleeding, medication overdose, pressure ulcers, head injury, falls, malnutrition, bruises, joint dislocation, physical abuse by staff and even death.
- Signs of neglect including dehydration, malnourishment, poor hygiene, soiled bedding, unattended medical needs and hazardous or unsanitary living conditions.
- Emotional or behavioral changes such as agitation, withdrawal, fear or anxiety, frequent crying, strained relationship with nursing home staff or complaints of improper treatment.
If a nursing home resident’s rights are violated, the resident or the resident’s family or guardian may bring a claim under Florida’s nursing home law for actual and punitive damages, and attorney’s fees.
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The rights of Nursing Home residents are spelled out in Sec. 400.022 of the Florida Statutes. The licensee for each nursing home must inform the resident of the resident’s rights. A copy of the law is set out at the end of this article.
The law states that nursing home residents have a right to privacy, adequate health care, transfer or discharge only for appropriate medical reasons, and freedom from corporal abuse, restraint and punishment, among others. In addition, Florida state law allows for the creation of a “cause of action” when a facility is found to deprive a nursing home resident of his or her rights.
If the damages to the resident are caused by medical/nursing malpractice, a claim for malpractice can be filed in addition to the claim under the Nursing Home statute. In this regard, you are referred to the article entitled Medical Malpractice.
Hoffman, Larin and Agnetti, PA has been protecting the rights of Florida’s citizens since 1975. For a free consultation at our offices in Dade, Broward or Monroe counties, call (305) 653-5555. We accept Nursing Home cases on a contingency- there is no fee unless we obtain a recovery.